Controlling food and labor costs in the quest for greater profitability

Controlling your Controllables with CLEARVIEW

Any quick-service restaurant owner or manager will tell you that keeping costs in check is an important part of maximizing profitability. Unfortunately, not all costs are what we refer to as ‘controllable’. There are fixed costs that cannot be lowered even by the ablest QSR manager.

 The routine expenses that fall under the category of ‘uncontrollable’ include rent, royalties, and advertising. These costs will be locked in from week to week and month to month.

There are, however, another set of costs that can be controlled and these, depending on how they are dealt with, will have a direct impact on your bottom line. The two most significant of these are labor and food. The rule of thumb is that your labor is typically around 30 percent of your total costs. In reality, it should land well under this, ideally closer to 25 percent. Food costs should probably be in the range of 30 percent as well.

BUT, unlike the fixed costs, there are things you can do in these two areas that can go a long way to enhance the bottom line.

The following are ways you can use CLEARVIEW to control your controllables.

Control Labor Costs

 You should monitor your labor costs throughout your day and make decisions as you go. This way you are proactive versus reactive by staying on top of one of your prime costs before it gets out of hand.

CLEARVIEW’s accurate forecasting assists in the creation of an ideal schedule and enables you to monitor the actual labor results in real-time throughout your day based upon your target threshold. Let’s say your target is 25 percent for labor costs. When you are outside by four percent in either direction you will be alerted so you can take corrective action in real-time. This will prevent you from tossing money out the window by being either badly over or under-staffed at any point in the day.

Another way CLEARVIEW helps you stay on top of labor costs is by monitoring your current status in comparison to what was forecasted. It looks at what was scheduled versus your actual sales and labor. To be successful, you not only need an excellent plan, but you also need to keep on track of the plan and adjust according to any unexpected downturns or upturns. We call it schedule variances which simply refers to forecasted sales and customers versus actual sales and customers in comparison to scheduled shifts and actual hours worked.

Control Food Costs

On the food side. one of the best ways CLEARVIEW can help you stay on top of costs is by predicting your ideal supply order. When you create a purchase order, CLEARVIEW looks at historical purchase trends and forecasted menu demand, and we predict how much stock you need how much you need to order to bring your levels up to where they should be.

Not only does that save the manager time, but it also brings you to a level where you are going to be able to meet the customer demand without having excess overhead.

The key to success is to run lean without running out, and CLEARVIEW can help you do that through suggested ordering.

CLEARVIEW can also look at your operations on a more granular level and help you minimize your waste by suggesting how much you need to thaw, slice, cook, and bake. We will tell you how much you need to hold in your warming cabinets, how many things you need to put on the grill, so it is all about kitchen production planning.

Recommended “build to” and” hold at” levels both minimize your waste cost and increase customer satisfaction by ensuring they always get fresh food promptly.

CLEARVIEW can also help monitor your top 15 to 20 items throughout the day to flag losses like snacking, theft, or over portioning. If you can save between say two and six percent on your bottom line, that’s going to result in an annual savings of around $170,000 if you are a big volume restaurant.

To find out how CLEARVIEW can help you become more profitable, reach out to us at  + 1 866 687 8027 or We’d love to discuss it with you.